The Innovative Teachers Association of Ghana is calling for boycott of the TM1 laptops that the Akufo-Addo government is providing to teachers at what has been described as heavily padded prices.
President of the Association, Stephen Dosu, dismisses the mass produced laptops as “substandard nonsense” that leaders of other teacher unions have connived with the Ministry of Education to foist on teachers so they can cream off huge profit for themselves.
“Please teachers, let us come together and boycott this nonsense they call laptop, this is day light robbery; this is criminality of the highest order this is the greatest insult Unions like GNAT, NAGRAT and CCT can inflict on teachers with the connivance of the Ministry of Education.”
Mr. Dosu emphasizes the need for the boycott adding that no teacher will be forced to part with their professional development allowance over the laptops.
“We are calling on you to boycott this laptop and never receive this laptop and nobody, I repeat, nobody, will take your money from your professional development allowance because you have not signed any contractual agreement with anybody,” he said.
The call which was made in a chat with teachers was in reaction to a counter interview that President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers, Angel Carbonu, had granted on the saga of different prices being quoted for what has been described as substandard laptop.
To crosscheck the Innovative Teachers unhappiness that the laptop, which they claim should not cost even ghcd600, has been costed by the Ministry of Education at a whopping Ghc1,550, Mr. Carbonu had gone on Adom FM to react, but had rudely told presenters to go and do the math for themselves after he had said teachers were to only pay 30% of the laptop – Ghc550 out of the full price.
Mr. Carbonu would later sign a letter saying that a price of Ghc1,550 that the Education Ministry had quoted as price per laptop was even not the actual price and that the actual price is Ghc1,831 per computer
This rude obscurantist tactic by Carbonu has annoyed Mr. Dosuwho points out it confirms their suspicion that the leadership of the teacher associations have connived with government to milk teachers by forcing the substandard laptops on them at cut throat prices.
“And Angel Carbonu came on line and when he was asked the cost of the laptop he said he didn’t know and that it was Ghc500 for the teachers. When he was pressed further to give the total cost of the laptop he said the media men must calculate themselves and that their mathematics wasn’t good, this is on record
“When he was asked why the Union didn’t negotiate for a better laptop he said it wasn’t his duty to negotiate with government the kind of brand that they want to give to teachers. in other words they can manufacture any junk and come and dump it on teachers because the bottom line is that we have given you a laptop,” Mr. Dosu said.
He added that “we’ve been suspecting them all along; our suspicion is that they will gain massively from this deal, the reason why they are very enthusiastic about this deal is because our suspicion is that they have a gain to make from this.”
He pooh-poohed Mr. Carbonu’s placating claim that the 30% that teachers are to pay will not come from their salaries but their professional development allowances, asking if that allowance is also not money due teachers.
“We are not fools, we know how the manufacturing of laptops are done elsewhere, you cannot go and manufacture 280,000 laptops and come and quote a price of Ghc1,831 when with this amount you can get a better brand new HP laptop with better specification than this nonsense they call laptop. The only motivation for this laptop is that some few greedy people in Ghana want to make money, he said.
He pointed out that the Ghc550 that teachers are being asked to pay can be used to purchase a second hand laptop of far better specs and quality than the TM1 laptops that are to be provided.
“That 30% that teachers have to pay, you can go to Circle or any part of Kumasi and get yourself a better second hand specification of a laptop which will last longer, which is repairable than the one that they want to give you.”
The TM1 laptop that government has proposed to provide to teachers under the one teache one laptop program is 14 inches wide has a Celeron N4020 CPU, a RAM size of 4gigabites and storage of 256 gb.
Many have argued the specs are too low to cost Ghc1,831 per laptop. The Innovative Teachers Association has alleged deliberate padding and asked the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice to probe.
They are especially suspicious because government is ordering 280,000 pieces, a mass production that should reduce the price per pc drastically.